Where pleasure isn't guilty.

I founded We Get To Be Well to have a different kind of conversation about women's health. I was tired of two problematic extremes. On the one hand, doctors who wanted to slap a band-aid on my chronic pain symptoms and never bothered to look for root causes. On the other, restrictive alternative medicine practitioners whose idea of a solution left me wondering what was going to be so great about this new "healthy" life anyway. I was determined to find a different way. Read on to continue hearing my story, or drop down to FAQ's or my Professional Bio.

welcome to we get to be well.

xo,
Michelle-Marie

Despite the fact that 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. meets the textbook definition of chronic pain sufferer, there's a lack of practical, sustainable solutions. And forget about exciting ones. This is something I figured out through years of suffering, trying on fixes, moving on to the next, and repeating the process. But I should back up...I didn't begin this process in earnest until I accepted that I, indeed, had chronic pain. I spent a whole lot of time suppressing my feelings about my health and downplayed or outright hid my pain from family and friends. 

"Just take more Tylenol."
- my doctor (who really didn't get it)

For me, a lifelong perfectionist and high-achiever, my pain equaled weakness. Underlying feelings of shame caused me to withdraw from the people and things I loved. I'd end an early morning work shift, drive straight home, and slink into bed. From the seclusion of my sheets, I'd scroll Facebook or fall asleep, telling myself it'd be just a little nap. Hours later, I'd wake to a dark room and the sound of my husband's keys in the lock of the front door. I'd panic, mortified that I'd let another day pass without doing, well, anything. It's not that I thought he'd judge me. It was that I had such internalized feelings of guilt, that I judged myself. Why can't I just get my shit together, move through it, get over it?

I reached the point where I was so disgusted, change became the only option. I needed to find a lasting solution that resonated with me, not a one-size-fits-all (or none) approach. Maybe that's where you are now. If so, congratulations on choosing to not settle for less than you deserve. Read on to the FAQ's below. You'll find my philosophy for accessing pleasure while pursuing health.

I BELIEVE IN...

intersectionality (thanks, Kimberlé Crenshaw!), indulging with intention, and honoring traditional wisdoms.

I'm NOT ABOUT...

false dichotomies, all-or-nothing thinking, the compare & despair trap, or bullshit excuses.

YOU CAN FIND ME...

following paths of curiosity, staging photoshoots of my dogs and cat, trying new recipes, and planning my next trip.

daily rituals:

sipping green tea from my favorite glass mug, cooking simple foods with big flavor, gently moving my body, reading in bed, making my baby laugh

Suffer from chronic stress

Struggle with digestive problems

Have fibromyalgia or chronic pain

Live with an autoimmune condition (like Hashimoto's or Lupus)

Have candida (yeast) overgrowth

Suspect something's up with their hormones

We Get To Be Well helps if you:

work with me

Want more energy and vitality

Have negative health symptoms that aren't getting better

morelia, mexico

You're done playing whack-a-mole with your symptoms 

You know that quick fixes rarely work long-term and crave something strategic

You've outgrown Doctor Google and WebMD

You're over diet culture and the fear-mongering that comes with it

You're ready to move beyond thinking of food (and your choices) in terms of good vs. bad

You don't want to wait for the medical status quo to catch up with the already available cutting-edge science

We're probably a good fit if:

You refuse to be in the same place 10 years from now 

You want to get back to being a bon vivant 

omg - that's me!

Who’s this for?

The woman who’s unsatisfied with status quo healthcare and refuses to settle for less than she deserves.

Frequently Asked Questions

As if! (If you don’t get the Gwyneth Paltrow reference, I’m jealous)

Hmm...That sounds more like a statement than a question to me. I’ll judge you if you’re one of those people who stands up at an author reading and makes a 5-minute self-congratulatory statement disguised as a “question.” (But I don’t think that’s you.)

Perfect = Boring. I don’t give a fig about those things you’ve internalized as your shortcomings. Seriously. Figs are too delicious and highly seasonal to just give them away all will-nilly. 

Perfect’s for suckers. Happy’s for winners. We can work together to figure out the difference. 

I’m afraid you’re going to judge me for not being perfect…

Through nutrition and mindset counseling, advocacy, and community. For starters, get on the email list and I'll send you free ideas, resources, and practical whimsy that make you go, “Huh, I never thought of it that way.” Also, see my guide - Dinner Party - or learn how to work with me one-on-one.

How does We Get To Be Well help with that?

Are you for holistic medicine or Western medicine?

It means I approach you as an individual with a unique social context, genetic set, lifestyle habits, and goals. I consider how this complex biography - including your emotions - interacts with your biological systems. It's a challenge to the one-size-fits-all, "just slap another band-aid on it" status quo.

I see you mention functional nutrition. What does that mean? 

To be honest, pretty tediously. I wish different for you. If you skimmed it before, you can read more about my personal story at the top of this About page. 

The TL;DR version is: From personal experience, tons of research fueled by curiosity and necessity, and a whole lot of book-learnin’ that landed me credentials. See my formal bio below.

How'd you figure all this stuff out?

Yes.

What’s your biggest life regret?

Wow, you’re just going there. Ok, well, I’d have to say it’s every time I didn’t add-on guacamole.

Are you going to tell me to carry around a jade egg in my vagina?

Is that really your biggest regret?

So persistent....I share my embarrassing, regrettable life stories on the blog and in my emails. Get on the email list, then grab the popcorn and your notebook - there are always relevant takeaways. 

So, what can I expect from We Get To Be Well?

We Get To Be Well is a space to have a different kind of conversation about women's health. It’s where you come for resources, support, and straight talk on living well.

You can think of it as cozy and inspiring, like your favorite coffee shop that also sells books...and fashion magazines...that you can peruse without buying, while enjoying your cappuccino.

It's also where I, Michelle-Marie, share my philosophy on health. I value practicality and sustainability over idealism and trends. Having said that, I think we need to be bold and dream big when it comes to our individual and collective futures. 

We Get To Be Well is our rallying cry. It acknowledges that our personal health is bound up with our community health. Together, we'll use systems thinking (it's all connected!) to imagine desirable futures in healthcare.

I offer one-on-one counseling, nutrition and lifestyle education through group programs, masterclasses on specific topics, and a place to express your commitment to health justice advocacy. 

I also value pleasure and connection and don't think in absolutes. So, I'll never be the one to tell you you can't share a basket of fries with your BFF.


Basket of fries? Should I actually be eating those?

If you love fries then the answer is: Yes, sometimes (But make damn sure they're hot and crispy). Don’t worry, I’ll share my perspective on this and my strategies for making sure pleasures are never guilty. 

Are you saying you’re going to make me symptom-free?

It’s possible. Our experiences of pain depend on many factors, so I would never presume to tell you about yourself without getting to know you first. But, I’d say what’s important to focus on today is what you have control over now. And part of that is your pleasure/pain ratio. I can help you with that right away. Get the We Get To Be Well Mail for free.

Are you going to tell me this is all in my mind? That I can think away my pain?

Nope, because it’s not. We’re fortunate to live in a time of rapid discovery about the brain and how it interacts with the body's systems. It’s scientifically proven that symptoms (like pain) and mindset are linked. But that doesn't mean there aren't physiological imbalances to address. We'll bring it together - the mind and the body. Dichotomies be damned. 

It feels like there are so many moving parts to getting healthy. I’m overwhelmed. What should I do?

I’ve been there. Start with a deep breath. Then take one informed step at a time. 

Ok, I want to join the revolution! Now what?

You guessed it: get on the email list.

Who’s We Get To Be Well for?

The woman who’s unsatisfied with status quo healthcare and refuses to settle for less than she deserves.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you help with that?

Through nutrition and mindset counseling, advocacy, and community. For starters, get on the email list and I'll send you free ideas, resources, and practical whimsy that make you go, “Huh, I never thought of it that way.” Also, see my guide - Dinner Party - or learn how to work with me one-on-one.

Are you saying you’re going to make me symptom-free?

It’s possible. Our experiences spring from many factors, so I would never presume to tell you about yourself without getting to know you first. But, I’d say what’s important to focus on today is what you have control over now. And part of that is your pleasure/pain ratio. I can help you with that right away. Get We Get To Be Well Mail for free.

How'd you figure all this stuff out?

To be honest, pretty tediously. I wish different for you. If you skimmed it before, you can read more about my personal story at the top of this About page.

The TL;DR version is: From personal experience, tons of research fueled by curiosity and necessity, and a whole lot of book-learnin’ that landed me credentials. See my “formal” bio below.

Are you for holistic medicine or Western medicine?

Yes.

Are you going to tell me this is all in my mind? That I can think away my health issues?

Nope, because it’s not. We’re fortunate to live in a time of rapid discovery about the brain and how it interacts with the body's systems. It’s scientifically proven that symptoms (like pain) and mindset are linked. But that doesn't mean there aren't physiological imbalances to address. We'll bring it together - the mind and the body. Dichotomies be damned. 



I’m afraid you’re going to judge me for not being perfect…

Hmm...That sounds more like a statement than a question to me. I’ll judge you if you’re one of those people who stands up at an author reading and makes a 5-minute self-congratulatory statement disguised as a “question.” (But I don’t think that’s you.)

Perfect = Boring. I don’t give a fig about those things you’ve internalized as your shortcomings. Seriously. Figs are too delicious and highly seasonal to just give them away all will-nilly. 

Perfect’s for suckers. Happy’s for winners. We can work together to figure out the difference. 

It feels like there are so many moving parts to getting healthy. I’m overwhelmed. What should I do?

I’ve been there. Start with a deep breath. Then take one informed step at a time. 

I saw you mention functional nutrition. What does that mean? 

It means I approach you as an individual with a unique social context, genetic set, lifestyle habits, and goals. I consider how this complex biography - including your emotions - interacts with your biological systems. It's a challenge to the one-size-fits-all, "just slap another band-aid on it" status quo.

Ok, I want to join the revolution! Now what?

You guessed it: get on the email list.

What’s your biggest life regret?

Wow, you’re just going there. Ok, well, I’d have to say it’s every time I didn’t add on guacamole.

Is that really your biggest regret?

So persistent....I share my embarrassing, regrettable life stories on the blog and in my emails. Get on the We Get To Be Well email list, then grab the popcorn and your notebook - there are always relevant takeaways. 

So, what can I expect from We Get To Be Well?

We Get To Be Well is a space to have a different kind of conversation about women's health. It’s where you come for resources, support, and straight talk on living well.

You can think of it as cozy and inspiring, like your favorite coffee shop that also sells books...and fashion magazines...that you can peruse without buying, while enjoying your cappuccino.

It's also where I, Michelle-Marie, share my philosophy on health. I value practicality and sustainability over idealism and trends. Having said that, I think we need to be bold and dream big when it comes to our individual and collective futures. 

We Get To Be Well is our rallying cry. It acknowledges that our personal health is bound up with our community health. Together, we'll use systems thinking (it's all connected!) to imagine desirable futures in healthcare.

I offer one-on-one counseling, nutrition and lifestyle education through group programs, masterclasses on specific topics, and a place to express your commitment to health justice advocacy. 

I also value pleasure and connection and don't think in absolutes. So, I'll never be the one to tell you you can't share a basket of fries with your BFF.


Basket of fries? Should I actually be eating those?

If you love fries then the answer is: Yes, sometimes. (But make damn sure they're hot and crispy) Don’t worry, I’ll share my perspective on this and my strategies for making sure pleasures are never guilty. 

Are you going to tell me to carry around a jade egg in my vagina?

As if! (If you don’t get the Gwyneth Paltrow reference, I’m jealous)

Calling all (aspiring) bon vivants!

Grab your FREE guide to quieting society's voice in your head so you can stop putting off happiness for someday and live the life you crave right. damn. now.

free guide

Stop the
Madness!

      


    An anti-patriarchy health guide
    in 7 steps

    Michelle-Marie Gilkeson is a women's health specialist and expert on food and wellness culture. She helps people uncover the root causes of their negative health symptoms, and supports women to access more pleasure and connection through life's many phases. (Oh, and she's been known to call The Patriarchy to account, too)

    She received a master's degree in women's and gender studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Her research included an analysis of cultural perceptions and policy on public breastfeeding, and women's obstetrical care and birthing options in the U.S.

    While in Chicago, she worked on the Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project, compiling reports on police misconduct in Chicago and the UK, contributing annotations to a bibliography on human rights and foreign policy, and organizing events to bring thinkers together on topics such as decriminalizing drug addiction.

    About the Founder, Michelle-Marie

    You're in the right place.

    fancy-pants bio
    (written in the 3rd person
    for modesty's sake)

    Michelle-Marie also worked under the direction of Mariame Kaba as a volunteer facilitator for Project NIA's Girl Talk, which supported incarcerated girls and young women at Cook County Temporary Juvenile Detention Center through art projects and conversation.

    Upon returning to her native Los Angeles in 2011, Michelle-Marie continued her career as a dancer and became a member of Dorn Dance Company, helmed by choreographer Randé Dorn. In addition to spending five years performing with the company at venues like the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana for LA Fashion Week, White Box Theatre in San Diego, and LA Dance Festival, Michelle-Marie was the managing director. 

    In 2012, she completed her 500-hour Pilates mat and apparatus training, and took her certifying exam with master teacher and founder of Body Arts and Sciences International (BASI), Rael Isacowitz. Michelle-Marie served the Pasadena and South Pasadena communities through private and semi-private Pilates therapy. She became sought after by individuals with chronic pain and mobility limitations. She is also a certified Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist, trained by Dr. Sarah Duvall,  whose comprehensive education program is approved by the American Physical Therapy Association. 

    A lifelong lover of radio and interview as a medium for exploring culture, Michelle-Marie joined the IMRU Radio Collective, which has produced the nation's longest-running LGBTQIA radio news magazine since 1974. Her interviews and stories on queer life and culture have aired on more than 200 radio stations internationally (though she didn’t believe this until she heard her own voice on the radio during a trip to Vancouver). She was also the show director. For queer radio show, This Way Out, she was a news anchor and served on the board of its non-profit production company. 

    She has presented her research and ideas at conferences like Just Food (joint conference of the Association for the Study of Food & Society; Agriculture, Food & Human Values Society; Canadian Association for Food Studies; and The Society for the Anthropology of Food & Nutrition), Working Class Studies Association's Working Class Organization and Power; Humanities, Power, and the Public; and Suiting Up: Disciplining the Aesthetics of Difference at the Gender Institute (University at Buffalo).

    Her own journey as a dancer and chronic pain sufferer prompted rigorous research and a search for solutions to status quo healthcare. She studied under Andrea Nakayama, MS, of the Functional Nutrition Alliance, and became a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor in 2018. Recognizing the significance of food systems to individual and community health, she returned to grad school. 

    Michelle-Marie holds a second master's degree in gastronomy, with dual concentrations (food history & culture; food policy) from Boston University's Gastronomy program, which was developed by culinary legends Jacques Pépin and Julia Child.

    While in Boston, she also earned a professional certificate in the culinary arts, training directly with Chef Jacques Pépin and other renowned chefs, including Michael Leviton (Craigie Burger), Kevin O'Donnell (SRV; Giusto), Cara Chigazola-Tobin (Honey Road), Seizi Imura (Cafe Sushi), Jody Adams (Rialto; Porto), Chris Douglass (Ashmont Grill; Tavolo Ristorante), Barry Maiden (Hungry Mother; Facebook), Jeremy Sewall (Row 34; Island Creek Oyster Bar), Janine Sciarappa (Sweet Lessons), and Jim Dodge (Bon Appétit Management; Julia Child Foundation board). 

    The James Beard Foundation named Michelle-Marie the 2019 winner of the Robert Mondavi Winery Memorial Award. Given annually to an individual engaged in the study of wine and the culinary arts, the scholarship recognized her resolve to bring a multidisciplinary food studies analysis to her work as a nutrition counselor, and her commitment to design her nutrition practice in ways that challenge dominant understandings of health and wellness.

    Michelle-Marie's writing and recipes have appeared in The Boston Globe and at Boston Book Festival's Lit Crawl. She's a proud member of the Food + Wellness Equity Collective, founded by Yoli Ouiya and Sonja Overhiser.

    Certified Comprehensive Instructor

    “Michelle-Marie is who you go to when you need the truth, even if you don't yet know you want it.”

    let's work together

    overheard:

    you may recognize me from:

    send me the goods!

    Get We Get To Be Well resources, guidance, and practical whimsy in your inbox weekly. Expect things like: 

    > my recipe for super easy mole enchiladas
    > the story of that time I learned mindfulness from a dentist's chair
    > 7 tips for communicating your needs to your doctor

    Ready to put yourself first ?

    saintes-maries-de-la-mer, france

    Get We Get To Be Well resources, guidance, and practical whimsy in your inbox weekly. Expect things like: 

     - my recipe for easy
    mole enchiladas
    - the story of that time I learned mindfulness from a dentist's chair
    - 7 tips for communicating your needs to your doctor